6 creative ways to stay active during the holidays - MetroFamily Magazine
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6 creative ways to stay active during the holidays

By Shape Your Future

by Lindsay Cuomo

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

The words “hustle and bustle” tend to define the holiday season, but it is still important to set aside time for healthy movement! Physical activity lowers stress hormones, strengthens your immune system, improves your mood and even helps you sleep better, all things we need to fully enjoy the merriment of the season.

“In addition to all of the physical benefits, movement together, away from screens, brings us together,” shared Alexandra Taylor, local mom of two from Newcastle.

Taylor’s kids are ages 6 and 1, and their favorite way to stay active year-round is to go hiking. They even have a holiday tradition of a hike on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“Our favorite place to hike is the Wichita Wildlife Refuge in Lawton,” said Taylor.

To make hikes or neighborhood walks even more fun, Taylor uses what she calls “listening time,” where everyone gets quiet and listens with intention.

“During our hikes, I like to have some quiet time to see what we can hear and enjoy the sounds of nature,” said Taylor. “We might hear leaves rustling or a stream and even more animal sounds because we are being quiet.”

Kids’ growing bodies need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Parents should aim for at least 30 minutes.

Looking for creative ways to encourage your family to be more active? Here are six fun ideas to get moving during the holidays from Shape Your Future.

  1. Take a tour of your favorite holiday lights! But instead of driving, walk around your neighborhood or through a local holiday light display.
  2. When it is too cold to be outside, turn up the holiday tunes and have a dance party. Taylor said she leans into her daughter’s love of ballet for their dance sessions. “My daughter is really into ballet, and we love to put on The Nutcracker and do our own interpretation at home,” said Taylor.
  3. Transform mundane tasks into a competition! Raking leaves? See who can make the biggest pile. Putting toys away? See who can finish first.
  4. Get the whole family involved in rearranging the furniture. Whether it is time to make room for the holiday decorations or you simply want to give your home a refresh, rearranging furniture is a useful way to work your muscles and finally clean under that couch!
  5. A prized spot on the Taylor family Christmas tree is the perfect motivation for her kids. “My daughter and I move toys and reorganize to make room for the tree,” said Taylor. “She is so excited to decorate her spot on the tree with her favorite unicorn ornaments every year.”
  6. Turn screen time into fitness. While you watch your favorite show, exercise during commercials. Do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jog in place or anything else that gets you moving. Or turn on an active show! “When we get stir crazy from not being able to go outside as much, we love to turn on Go Noodle or kids’ Zumba or yoga on YouTube to keep moving fun,” recommends Taylor.
  7. If we are lucky enough to get a snow day, sledding, building a snowman and having a snowball fight are great ways to move our bodies and have a lot of fun. “Last year when we had all that snow, we spent hours rolling snowballs and crafting a 7-foot snowman,” remembers Taylor. “We even made a snow volcano.”

Opt Outdoors Safely

  • Cooler weather requires proper attire and preparation for outdoor activities. Follow these basic guidelines from Shape Your Future to play it safe:
  • Dress in layers so you can remove outer layers as your body warms up. Make sure your bottom layer is a fabric that draws sweat away from your skin. Waterproof boots and wool socks are also recommended.
  • Wear a hat! A significant amount of your body heat is lost through your head, so proper head protection is essential.
  • Play it safe and pack a safety kit. Plus, make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, especially if you are hiking in an area with spotty cell service.
  • Drink water before, during and after physical activity. Dehydration happens even in colder temperatures.
  • Wear sunscreen because sunburns can happen in the winter, too.
  • Be extra cautious when the ground is wet or icy.

Find more ways to stay active and recipes for healthy meals and treats at shapeyourfutureok.com.

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